I agree that the possibility of comebacks in the standings is a benefit of CoP. I too remember how frustrating it was to see a dynamite free skate in 6.0 from someone who had to depend on some impossible combination of wins and flubs from someone else in order to benefit from that skate.
But the system has caused skating to become so mechanistic as skaters try to boost points by adding extraneous elements. Somehow that doesn't bother me as much in gymnastics, where they're not trying for an artistic result as well as an athletic one.
An example of how mechanical demands can make for less interesting skating is the 1994 finals of ice dance. I know they were 6.0, but bear with me. That was the year ice dance rules demanded that teams use only music that could be danced to. It was the year Torvill and Dean came back to try for another gold. This innovative team, that could make audiences stop breathing for four minutes and more, were restricted to doing a routine to Fred and Ginger dance music. I love Irving Berlin, but as a basis for artistry, it was far below what Torvill and Dean could have explored given the chance. So the judges decided that Dean did an illegal lift and penalized them, and they came in third to--ugh--a cheery rendition of "Rock Around the Clock" performed at frenzied speed. A piece of music that consists of three notes played over and over again gave the winning team the advantage. The rules were so constricting that perhaps the greatest ice dancers ever couldn't win a competition.
The music requirement for that year was made not to benefit the skaters but to benefit the judges. It was made so that judges would be able to compare different ice dancers more accurately. That's one of the reasons the CoP was worked out: to be able to quantify elements of a program accurately in order to compare skaters' performances. Is it a necessary evil, or just an evil? Maybe it just needs recalibration, but I don't think it's so great for skating as it stands right now.
For this reason, I am getting more and more uncomfortable with using it to measure the great skaters of the past. If Michelle or Dorothy or G & G would have done less well under CoP, does that mean they are not good skaters? Heaven forbid!
For this reason, I am getting more and more uncomfortable with using it to measure the great skaters of the past. If Michelle or Dorothy or G & G would have done less well under CoP, does that mean they are not good skaters? Heaven forbid![/QUOTE]
Of course not, they were still great skaters. That's the problem with the "new" judging system. It seems to reward--I don't know--conformity, perhaps--over performance and showmanship and innovation. Under 6.0 a skater who maybe flutzed or underrotated or did easier footwork could still win if they skated clean and were creative and entertaining. Was this fair? I don't know. Perhaps there were skaters who sat there fuming about how so-and-so won unfairly even though he/she/they only did their footwork on two feet or took off on the wrong edge. But most of the audience was happy to see the cleanest and most entertaining people usually win.
I think it's sad that we don't see too many "characters" like Bowman the Showman or Philiippe Candeloro anymore. It's like everyone does the same program and the one with the best edges wins.
Olympia, thanks for reminding me of the 1994 Olympics. The whole ice dance situation was quite a puzzle.
I remember some criticism of an early T/D program that season because of the whole "danceability" issue, so they chucked it and went with something VERY ballroom for the Olympics. I didn't realize they had been penalized for a lift... I just thought something incomprehensible had happened in ice dance again... I've already shared my opinion on 6.0 ice dance judging and placements.
I don't recall which program T/D did at EC that year... but it was good enough to win, although I'm not sure they won the FS there.
To be honest, the program I enjoyed the most was U/Z. I was dumbfounded at the time about the judges' choice for the gold, and I still am.
I think the big impact that Torvill and Dean made that year was with their compulsory dance (I can't remember if it was called that in 1994), which was I believe a rhumba. As I recall, it was pretty incendiary. It did place them first after that phase even in the Olympics. At the end, when they had won the bronze, some interviewer asked their opinion of yet another change in the rules, and Jayne Torville said in that calm, crisp British way that they didn't care what the new rule change was because they would not be taking part in future competition.
Like you, I preferred Usova/Zhulin of the remaining two couples in the Top Three, and I was shocked that they had not won in T/D's stead. They were such a wonderful, graceful pair, with great choreography and splendid unison. And, for my mind, better taste than G/P in terms of music and moves. But there; they'll never make me a judge, so I'll just enjoy the programs I watch and not worry about the outcome.
Wicked Yankee Girl